Foresight lands ERA account

The Energy Retail Association (ERA) has hired Foresight Communications to conduct a review of its operations as it seeks to boost its communications with policy makers and the media.

The nine-month-old trade body, which represents the UK’s major gas and electricity providers, has asked Foresight to produce a study examining best practice in trade associations.

Foresight MD Mark Adams said: ‘We will provide [ERA] with strategic advice about how it should be organised and help it punch above its weight.’ Foresight will report its findings in September.

The reputations of energy providers have been tarnished in the past couple of years through door-to-door misselling to consumers and disconnections. Last Christmas, British Gas was embroiled in a high-profile case that linked an elderly couple’s death to having their energy supply cut off.

ERA chief executive Duncan Sedgwick emphasised that the interests of customers were vital. Consumer energy body Energywatch is cited regularly in media reports on price hikes and other industry issues.

ERA hired The British Retail Consortium’s top lobbyist Russell Hamblin-Boon as its first head of communications and policy late last year (PRWeek, 14 November 2003).

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